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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.36 | 766 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.34 | 1012 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.33 | 529 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.36 | 203 ratings
TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.30 | 436 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.48 | 56 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.31 | 200 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 752 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.24 | 625 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.25 | 493 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.24 | 546 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.32 | 122 ratings
MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.25 | 418 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.24 | 485 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.32 | 109 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.29 | 112 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 247 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.24 | 195 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.25 | 157 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.22 | 250 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.37 | 60 ratings
L'AXE DU FOU
Forgas Band Phenomena
4.23 | 190 ratings
THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.44 | 42 ratings
QUALIA
Syrinx
4.24 | 153 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.26 | 117 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.44 | 41 ratings
AGITOR LUCENS V
Arco Iris
4.27 | 96 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.69 | 21 ratings
REALIZATION
Henderson, Eddie
4.41 | 44 ratings
FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS
Kenso
4.30 | 76 ratings
BIG FUN
Davis, Miles
4.19 | 296 ratings
VALENTYNE SUITE
Colosseum
4.23 | 130 ratings
HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU (AKA B THE MAGPIE)
Pohjola, Pekka
4.20 | 164 ratings
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON
Davis, Miles
4.29 | 71 ratings
DARK SHOT
One Shot
4.21 | 152 ratings
WHAT IF
Dixie Dregs
4.23 | 101 ratings
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Davis, Miles
4.16 | 251 ratings
HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY
Return To Forever
4.19 | 137 ratings
MYSTICAL ADVENTURES
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.51 | 26 ratings
SPEAK NO EVIL
Shorter, Wayne
4.22 | 94 ratings
OFFRAMP
Metheny , Pat
4.52 | 25 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.32 | 49 ratings
LEB I SOL 2
Leb I Sol
4.22 | 88 ratings
MILES SMILES
Davis, Miles
4.20 | 103 ratings
EROTIC CAKES
Govan, Guthrie
4.16 | 167 ratings
FAIRYPORT
Wigwam
4.69 | 17 ratings
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Weber, Eberhard
4.16 | 153 ratings
THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.50 | 25 ratings
IZVIR
Izvir
4.15 | 177 ratings
WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE
Return To Forever
4.16 | 158 ratings
QUANTUM
Planet X
4.12 | 289 ratings
SANTANA
Santana
4.16 | 140 ratings
J'UN OEIL
Sloche
4.29 | 47 ratings
EWAZ VADER
One Shot
4.74 | 15 ratings
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
4.13 | 212 ratings
AJA
Steely Dan
4.23 | 65 ratings
ALMA DE DIAMANTE
Spinetta Jade
4.20 | 79 ratings
DEDALUS
Dedalus
4.72 | 15 ratings
Вижу Землю / LOOKING AT THE EARTH
Gunesh Ensemble
4.24 | 57 ratings
ORGANIK
Niacin
4.27 | 49 ratings
DEDICATED TO YOU, BUT YOU WEREN'T LISTENING
Tippett Group, Keith
4.16 | 105 ratings
SECRET STORY
Metheny , Pat
4.10 | 273 ratings
UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR
Brand X
4.14 | 132 ratings
CHICAGO (AKA CHICAGO II)
Chicago
4.21 | 67 ratings
SENTIMENTS
Iceberg
4.17 | 86 ratings
AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS (WITH LYLE MAYS)
Metheny , Pat
4.13 | 135 ratings
SEXTANT
Hancock, Herbie
4.61 | 17 ratings
SLAV TO THE RHYTHM
Farmers Market
4.10 | 245 ratings
ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill
4.22 | 55 ratings
FERMÁTA
Fermáta
4.23 | 53 ratings
RAHMANN
Rahmann
4.27 | 43 ratings
CRNA DAMA
Smak
4.18 | 74 ratings
INDÍGENA
Mar de Robles
4.19 | 68 ratings
4TH
D.F.A.
4.27 | 41 ratings
RUCNI RAD
Leb I Sol
4.48 | 21 ratings
THE HOOK
Tolonen, Jukka
4.11 | 142 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.95 | 10 ratings
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic
4.17 | 68 ratings
PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA
Pohjola, Pekka
4.21 | 51 ratings
BELIEVE IT
Williams Lifetime, Tony
4.23 | 44 ratings
YELLOW FIELDS
Weber, Eberhard
4.08 | 196 ratings
BLOW BY BLOW
Beck, Jeff
4.13 | 91 ratings
NEFERTITI
Davis, Miles
4.15 | 69 ratings
LAMBERTLAND
Tasavallan Presidentti
4.11 | 96 ratings
HUASCARAN
Fermáta
4.18 | 56 ratings
OH YEAH!
Hammer, Jan
4.10 | 106 ratings
METAL FATIGUE
Holdsworth, Allan
4.09 | 126 ratings
MASQUES
Brand X
4.26 | 35 ratings
SUDAMÉRICA O EL REGRESO A LA AURORA
Arco Iris
4.18 | 54 ratings
VOLUME 1: CONTRE COURANT
Opus-5
4.14 | 67 ratings
KING CRIMSON SONGBOOK, VOLUME ONE
Crimson Jazz Trio
4.06 | 205 ratings
MOROCCAN ROLL
Brand X
4.41 | 22 ratings
DIUMENGE
Companyia Elèctrica Dharma
4.12 | 79 ratings
33
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.17 | 56 ratings
STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS
Secret Oyster
4.20 | 44 ratings
LOS ELEMENTALES
Arco Iris
4.11 | 86 ratings
CINQUE
Deus Ex Machina
4.61 | 14 ratings
AN ANXIOUS OBJECT
Mouse on the Keys
4.31 | 27 ratings
HART GENOSSEN VON ABBA BIS ZAPPA
Panzerballett
4.22 | 38 ratings
GATEWAY
Abercrombie, John
4.15 | 57 ratings
YUME NO OKA (DREAM HILL)
Kenso

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

SUDDEN DUSK
However
WHAT WE MUST
Jaga Jazzist
DEATH WISH
Hancock, Herbie
A STORY OF MYSTERIOUS FOREST
Ain Soph

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Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Romantic Warrior by RETURN TO FOREVER album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.24 | 485 ratings

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Romantic Warrior
Return To Forever Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars In 2006 I bought Romantic Warrior at a Eugene, Oregon St. Vincent de Paul. This very same place I surprisingly got a copy of Barclay James Harvest's Gone to Earth (American MCA pressing with die cut and original inner sleeve) and Greenslade's Time and Tide (U.S. Mercury label copy). When I brought it home I was a bit dismissive of the album. I was still in my "generally dismissive of fusion" mindset, having heard Mahavishnu Orchestra's The Inner Mountain Flame several years before and though it was just boring wankfest ("look how fast we can play"). My attitude towards that album really changed, the Inner Mountain Flame, as well as Birds of Fire are amazing, and Visions of the Emerald Beyond is by far the best album with the second lineup (I don't find Inner Worlds bad, but I do have to warn you the album gets a bad reputation because four songs feature vocals, and while I don't have too much problems with that, many do, as Mahavishnu Orchestra works best as an instrumental outfit).

As with my attitude change towards Mahavishnu Orchestra, so my attitude has changed with Romantic Warrior (I hadn't heard the other RTF albums yet). The lineup here included Chick Corea (naturally), Lenny White, Al DiMeola, and Stanley Clarke. Here they take on some very complex and elaborate fusion that leans more towards prog rock at times. It seems that Chick Corea was trying for a fusion answer of Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson. The medieval influence of this album seem a bit overexaggerated. We're not exactly talking Gryphon here, or even Jethro Tull for that matter. The cover certainly has that medieval motif, and song titles definitely have that medieval thing going on, but to my ears it sounds like yer typical mid '70s fusion/prog thang. There's a couple passages on this album that sounded a bit fuzak-y, especially a couple of the piano passages and Stanley Clarke's bass playing, but those don't last long. I particularly enjoy the synths Chick Corea uses here.

Rock critic Robert Christgau hated this album. He gave it a D+ and called it "The Emerson, Lake & Palmer of jazz rock". Remember, he never liked ELP, so obviously he hardly meant that as a compliment. Progheads might agree on the "ELP of jazz rock" thing, but in a positive light.

It's hard to believe how popular this album is in fusion circles, given the challenging and complex nature of this album. Corea & Co. was obviously trying for a prog rock album, and the prog leanings obviously didn't bother record buyers at the time. I'm not entirely sure I'd give it a five star rating, given it took me many years to warm up to it, but definitely worth it.

 Nebular Trajectory by QUASAR album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.06 | 3 ratings

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Nebular Trajectory
Quasar Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

2 stars Another oddball release.

Quasar's debut album, "Nebular Trajectory" is an instrumental avant-garde jazz album played by a drum, bass, guitar trio. The music is generally chaotic, not unlike King Crimson's "Larks Tongues In Aspic", though if I were to liken Quasar's sound to any other band's, I might first go for the Crimson-esque Canterbury fusion group Quiet Sun, a similarity that can especially be heard on the opener, "Force Funk". I like to think of this album as a jazz equivalent of Swiss eclectic prog band Island's "Pictures". Very complex, head-spinning music that leaves you feeling sort of sick the first time you hear it, but can be rewarding if you're devoted enough to getting into it. Unlike "Pictures", however, Quasar is far looser in structure, not quite as memorable and ultimately doesn't offer quite the reward as you grow on it.

Certainly not an album for the prog layman, "Nebular Trajectory" is the sort of material that will probably only appeal to the most devoted fans of avant-garde music and unconventional jazz fusion. Listen with caution.

 When You Cut Into The Present by MØSTER! album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 2 ratings

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When You Cut Into The Present
Møster! Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MOSTER! is named after it's leader and sax player extraordinaire Kjetil Moster. On this their latest release we have the bass player from ELEPHANT9 and NEEDLEPOINT while on drums and guitar we get the MOTORPSYCHO members. As the bio mentions a good comparison to their sound here might be if ELEPHANT9 replaced their keyboardist with a sax player.

"Nebula And The Red Giant" opens with sounds that cry out of the atmosphere which goes on for some time until it kicks into gear after 2 1/2 minutes bringing ELEPHANT9 to mind until the sax starts lighting it up 3 minutes in. Some killer drum work here too. The sax stops before 6 minutes but it's back a minute later wailing away. "Bandha" has this funky groove to it thanks to the bass as experimental sounds play over top. It's the bass sax turn to play over top 2 minutes in. I like the guitar a lot starting before 3 1/2 minutes as it starts to play over top as the lead instruments continue to trade off.

"The Future Leaks Out" has sparse sounds that come and go until we eventually get this steady beat as experimental sounds continue. It's more powerful before 3 minutes as the sax comes in making some noise. Check out the sound 5 1/2 minutes in, powerful and experimental. Man this is insanity. Finally a break after 7 minutes as it winds down. "Journey" is mellow with lazy sax expressions until a change arrives 2 minutes in as we get a calm with percussion and bass. Love the guitar a minute later. A trippy tune not so surprisingly considering the title of this one. "Soundhouse Rumble" features heavy drums and deep sounds as the bass sax joins in. The guitar lights it up 3 1/2 minutes in as we get a big finish.

It's been a pleasure checking out the music of MOSTER!, and while I prefer ELEPHANT9 to them people really need to check out this talented band from Norway. A very solid 4 stars.

 Inner Worlds  by MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.49 | 85 ratings

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Inner Worlds
Mahavishnu Orchestra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

3 stars I knew I HAD to get this album, at least a cheap used LP. It's because of the utterly ridiculous cover! I mean, what was John McLaughlin thinking? What possessed him to go shirtless for this cover? The shirtless John McLaughlin, as well as that ridiculous haircut he adopted since associating himself with Sri Chinmoy. It's one thing when Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad) goes shirtless, "that's rock and roll", so they say (but I seriously doubt he'd do anything like that these days as a solo act performing Christian songs, but perfectly fine in the old Grand Funk days). It also seriously divides the fans. This is basically the end of the road for Mahavishnu Orchestra (which some believe should have ended with the breakup of the original band). This is John McLaughlin, with Ralphe Armstrong, Narada Michael Walden, and Stu Goldberg. Note that Gayle Moran and Jean-Luc Ponty had left.

The album really isn't that bad, though far from perfect. It's that the vocal tracks seriously conflict with the flow of the album, most of the vocal tracks have that soulful feel. Soul music on a Mahavishnu album does seem a bit inappropriate. Luckily there are several instrumental cuts, some of them exploring that same funky direction of Visions of the Emerald Beyond. Unfortunately some of them feature this guitar synthesizer McLaughlin was experimenting with, so this resulted in a bunch of noise, "Miles Ahead" clearly demonstrating that. It just sounded like technology McLaughlin was not familiar with (to be fair, anyone else, for that matter). Timo Laine (Symphonic Slam) and Steve Hackett also used guitar synthesizers in their music. Because McLaughlin wasn't familiar with this technology, it's little wonder lots of noise and racket were being created, it sounded like he had trouble controlling it. Things work much better, naturally, when he uses his normal guitars. "All in the Family" is the opening song, luckily it's not him and the band doing the theme song of the TV show that bears this name, this is a great opening instrumental fusion number. To me, this is as great as anything the original band could come up with, although there's a Latin-feel to the percussion giving a bit of a Santana-thing song on (which I guess is no surprise given McLaughlin had collaborated with Carlos Santana on Love, Devotion, Surrender). "In My Life", "Gita", "River of my Heart", and "Planetary Citizen" are the vocal cuts, some work better than others, I felt the worst offenders were "In My Life" and "River of My Heart". They were basically soul ballads. Those simply don't work on a Mahavishnu Orchestra album. "Planetary Citizen" works better, as there's more edge to it. I guess McLaughlin felt the need for vocal cuts to get his spiritual message across, something he never needed to do with the original 1971-73 band. The rest of the album is all-instrumental, and this is where they shine best, if the guitar synthesizer isn't out there distracting. I am convinced that had he ditched those vocal cuts and kept his hands off that guitar synthesizer, that this could have easily ended up as a classic, rather than a controversial career ending for Mahavishnu Ochestra.

Since I can't say this album is bad, because several songs actually blew me away, the flaws are pretty obvious, so three stars it is. If you want to hear post-Mark I Mahavishnu Orchestra at their best, go for Visions of the Emerald Beyond (as vocals are kept to a minimum, so it's about 80% instrumental, and the funky approach is quite nice).

  A Story Ended by HECKSTALL-SMITH, DICK album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.61 | 12 ratings

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A Story Ended
Dick Heckstall-Smith Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The marriage between jazz and rock is one that has enthralled me for ages. Obviously they stem from the same tree, which is blues, but the improvisational nature of jazz in combination with the power of rock music makes for a very exciting soundscape. So, having said that I would like to say that Dick Heckstall-Smith's album of 1972 is such a pleasant surprise. I like Colosseum and think they were great band in their own right. The progressive rock of theirs, combining jazz and blues into a powerful concoction, is still a treat to listen to. Needless to say, Dick's album holds similarities to his old band. The difference, I think, is that his solo album is far better than any of those he made with Colosseum. The potent mix of jazzy grooves, bluesy licks and hard rock leanings is absolutely magnificent. Also, the abundance of guests on the album makes for a varied and exciting listen.

The opening track 'Future song' is great with it's repetative riff and hard, driving sound. The following 'Crabs' is irresistable. It holds so many moods and swings to and fro in a seamless manner. Great vocals too. 'Moses in the Bullrushourses' is another very good track, owing just as much to jazz, blues and hard rock. Great groove! Graham Bond may have a limited vocal range but delivers a hoarse and enjoyable performance. His organ is to the fore and provides so much joy, since I am a fanatic when it comes to the hammond organ. No other instrument is able to send shivers down my spine like the organ.

'What the morning was after' is a jazzy, quite calm piece offering some relief from the previous track. Then it comes, the main center piece: 'The pirate's dream'. This is really a bluesy, jazzy epic that transforms into a majestic chaos for an ending. Chris Farlowe do have a magnificent pair of lungs. This track is really, really good. The album ends with the bluesy 'Same old thing'. A great ending to a great album.

The overall tone of this album is warmth. It is so sincere and passionate throughout that I am gobsmacked. Everything, almost, sits perfectly. And the title, 'Dust in the air suspended marks the place where a story ended', is irresistable. While the saga or story of Colosseum was ground to, at least, a temporary halt the musical direction of refining and exploring the possibilities of jazz-rock continued in the grandest of fashion.

I own the Esoteric Recordings edition of the album and it sports some really good bonus tracks. Quite often bonus tracks can be so-and-so, really not adding anything to the overall view of a band, but in this case the opposite applies. The bonus tracks are amazing and really enjoyable. They do complete the picture of a short lived but tremendous band. The bonus tracks are comprised of three live recordings of 'Moses...', 'The pirate's dream' and 'No amount of loving'. The potency of this band in a live setting is devestating. There is a great fuzz bass-solo in 'Moses...', by the way. To top things off there are two tracks from the abandoned project Manchild. Also great songs.

When all is said and done there is only one thing to add. This is a fantastic jazz-rock album and while it is of it's time the warmth, sincerity and passion is timeless. It has dated well, I think, and is surely a valid listen if you're into jazz-rock and that side of progressive rock. Stunning album.

 Hooffoot by HOOFFOOT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Hooffoot
Hooffoot Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

4 stars Two tracks, 35 minutes of music, plenty of jazz...

Hooffoot are an interesting case in that they have produced an album which sounds like structured improvisation (as if there ever was such a thing!). Strictly sticking to analog recording, the sextet (+) go wild on two rather long ''compositions'' (pun intended), feeding the unaware listener with blasts of retro-original exciting jazz-rock/fusion. Spooky/spacey keyboards mixed with trumpets and saxophone, Miles Davis meets (mostly) Soft Machine, throw in some ZAPPA-esque and Mahavishnu oddity, carefully picked oriental and latin moments and you get an uplifting mix of (surpisingly) modern-sounding jazz.

Listening to this debut feels like the music is being played live in front of you (the beauty of analog?). Despite the length of the tracks and the levels of experimentation, ''Hooffoot'' retains a remarkably groovy pace and playful atmosphere, especially in the latter track where Santana seem to be making an appearance mid-way...

Invest without reservations, this is one of the highlights of 2016.

4+

 Hooffoot by HOOFFOOT album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 10 ratings

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Hooffoot
Hooffoot Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's interesting to read the bio of HOOFFOOT as the band's leader Par Hallgren discusses how late in life he discovered RPI, Krautrock and seventies Jazz. Out of that he lists IL BALETTO DI BRONZO's "YS" album as being life changing. I like this guy. As a result he and a couple of musicians met pretty much weekly until eventually there was a band doing live gigs and then this, their first studio album. By the way this is a six piece band plus we get a guest sax player and a trumpet player. Par is probably most known for being in ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE but he was also in THE CARPET KNIGHTS, two amazing bands right there. The lead guitarist also played in both of those bands. We get a rhythm guitarist who plays for AGUSA and then two keyboardists. Ola also from ORESUND SPACE COLLECTIVE plays synths, and the other keyboardist plays clavinet and Fender Rhodes. We get two long suites giving us just under 35 minutes of music.

"Last Flight Of The Ratite" is the 18 1/2 minute opener. Horns standout in the intro along with guitar before ending with organ as it turns calm and very jazzy. Great sound here. Love the Fender Rhodes and the horn playing over top. It starts to turn nasty before 3 1/2 minutes and I wish there was more of this with the evil organ sounds and upfront guitar after 5 minutes. A change before 7 1/2 minutes as clavinet takes over as the bass and drums do the ground-work. A horn joins in as well. It's intense 9 minutes in then it calms right down quickly. I like the bass and percussion here. Check out the guitar starting before 11 minutes as he lights it up. A calm after 12 minutes as we get a jazzy section with atmosphere, percussion, bass and Fender Rhodes. So good! Some deep fuzzed out sounds before 15 minutes as it continues to be laid back. I'm not into the change beginning before 17 minutes to the end. Horns blast away to end it.

"Five Seven Six Eight...And Nine" opens with percussion as intricate sounds join in including flute-like sounds then a horn. It picks up 2 minutes in then it becomes catchy before 3 minutes but I'm not into this. And "this" will be repeated at various times in this suite. The guitar starts to lead and now I'm impressed. Back to that catchy passage then we get a calm with atmosphere and flute-like sounds before 6 minutes. Back to that catchy theme before 9 minutes then another change as it picks up bringing ELEPHANT9 to mind with the incredible Fender Rhodes and drum work. Another change before 11 1/2 minutes as we get these intricate sounds but then it turns fuller a minute later. There's that catchy section again before 15 minutes to the end.

I want to rate this higher but those catchy moments that are repeated on the second track along with the way the first track ends is holding me back. A matter of taste I suppose but you guys have to hear this one.

 Madeleine by GHOST RHYTHMS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.05 | 3 ratings

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Madeleine
Ghost Rhythms Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars GHOST RHYTHMS are a young band out of France and with this over 2 hour double album they have created something unique. Their idea was to make an alternate soundtrack to the movie "Vertigo" an Alfred Hitchcock classic. In doing so they created the music first then they made the tunes fit the scenes of the movie. They got the idea to do this from the common notion that PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side Of The Moon" works as an alternate soundtrack to "The Wizard Of Oz". GHOST RHYTHMS is a large band consisting of 16 people with lots of horns and strings and the only vocals are female vocal melodies on a couple of tracks. The drummer and keyboardist created and arranged all the music here and both the drums and especially the piano are very prominent in this recording. The music really comes across as being in the Chamber style to my ears more so than Jazz although we certainly get both. Oh, the album's title is taken from a character in the movie "Vertigo".

Disc one opens with "Another Bridge" which got me off on the wrong foot as I'm not really into this although I like the way it builds. "I Did Not" opens with piano only but it turns full before 1 1/2 minutes. This is somewhat dark and experimental and I like it a lot. "Tree Ashes" is led by drums and piano early on including accordion then the tempo picks up before 2 1/2 minutes and a horn starts playing over top. "Carlotta Valders" sounds great to start but I'm not into the sound when it picks up before 2 minutes but that only lasts about a minute. I like how pleasant it is after 5 1/2 minutes although I wouldn't call the horn playing over top in that way. A calm after 9 minutes but it's urgent and building. "Apparition #2" is melancholic and dark and oh so good. "Falaise" features beautiful piano melodies as the accordion joins in.

"Free Fall" has this fast paced piano as other sounds come and go. Love this stuff. "Apparition #1" is dark and eerie with piano. This is sparse with plenty of atmosphere. Cello after 2 1/2 minutes then it brightens 4 1/2 minutes in. "Phalenes" is a short piece with piano and horns leading the way. "L'alphee" has some excellent drums and bass in it as the piano and accordion help out. "Apparition #3" ends the first disc and it's dark with percussion and atmosphere before the piano and accordion join in. It does brighten but then back to the piano and drums 6 minutes in. It's brighter a minute later as themes are repeated.

"Aleph" opens with sparse piano and atmosphere until it kicks in at 1 1/2 minutes. So good! Check out the drumming after 6 minutes and the rare guitar a minute later. More guitar 10 minutes in including some clapping. "Relief" is led by piano but we get accordion and more helping out. I like the atmosphere 3 1/2 minutes in. "Ravin" has a fairly urgent rhythm section on it while "I Did" ends up having this relaxed jazzy sound before 2 minutes which is really enjoyable. Lots of horns in "Mary Rose" while "Apparition #2" has these pulsating sounds and more and then it kicks into gear before 1 1/2 minutes. Love this!

"A Bridge" has piano to start then it turns fuller before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice flute before 6 minutes and we get some female vocal melodies to follow. "Vie D'emilie Sagee" opens with bass as piano and horns eventually join in. Great sound 4 minutes in and we get female vocal melodies as well. Amazing track. "Pour Toi" is relaxed but there's so much going on. "La Circulaire" opens with what sounds like Kettle drums as piano joins in. A horn after 2 minutes. Insanity 5 1/2 minutes in. A great way to end it all.

I haven't listened to this with the movie but on it's own it a solid 4 star recording. Yeah it's too long for my tastes but blame the length of this on the movie(haha).

 Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin) by SANTANA, CARLOS album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.92 | 97 ratings

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Love Devotion Surrender (with John McLaughlin)
Carlos Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Progfan97402

4 stars By this point Carlos Santana was a disciple of Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual leader of rather dubious distinction (the back cover shows him with this grin on his face that makes him seem a bit shady). John McLaughlin introduced Satana to Chinmoy, so it's little surprise that they'd make an album together, with the help of many Mahavishnu Orchestra members, including Jan Hammer and Billy Cobham, with other musicians like Larry Young (sounding a bit like Gregg Rolie), Doug Rauch (bassist for Santana around the same time period) , and others. Jan Hammer only plays drums here (he's fully capable of drums, just listen to Like Children, his 1974 collaboration with Jerry Goodman to prove he's as comfortable with drums as with keyboards).

You know this isn't your typical hitmaking Santana album. It's often closer to Mahavishnu Orchestra than it is to Santana, but you'll still find Latin rhythms. The first two songs are John Coltrane songs, the first being "A Love Supreme", actually it should have been entitled "Acknowledgement", since it's the first song off A Love Surpreme. The original is piano and sax, and there is a vocal passage that repeats "A love supreme" over and over. This version, obviously is done in '70s fusion stlyle, with electric guitars and a more rock approach. The vocal passage is intact. "Naimi" is the second Coltrane song, the original appearing on his 1959 album Giant Steps. This version is modernized, but still calm and relaxed. "The Life Divine" is insanely intense and it really blew me away. There's also a repeating vocal line and I really dig Larry Young's organ playing, sounds like a spacier version of Gregg Rolie. "Let us Go into the House of the Lord" is a church song, so I often wondered what a Christian song is doing on an album done by two disciples of Sri Chinmoy. Probably due to the spiritual nature. This version, though, is all-instrumental, and honestly it sounds like an instrumental Santana song, has that similar Santana vibe going on, including Latin rhythms. "Meditation" is a short, calm piece, which makes sense, to close the album.

I remembered Rolling Stone panning this album. If memory serves, this was given a one star rating on the Rolling Stone Record Guide in the 1979 edition. I can understand where they may come from, though, because it might have seemed to their ears nothing more than a guitar wankfest, wishing for something on the line of the first three Santana albums, or more ensemble playing like from Mahavishnu Orchestra. And sure, I wouldn't recommend Love, Devotion, Surrender to those who dislike the more technical side of musicianship, but to me the power and mindblowing intensity really makes this album great. Billy Cobham proves, once again, to be a fusion powerhouse (although he shares drum duties also with Jan Hammer and Don Alias). I may not recommend this album to everyone, but I enjoy it, and it's really up to you to decide.

 Djamra by DJAMRA album cover Studio Album, 1999
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Djamra
Djamra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator

— First review of this album —
4 stars This eponymous album, released in the beginning of 1999, is the debut album of DJAMRA, one of Japanese jazz rock prides. This album, that even Masaharu (the leader of DJAMRA) does not possess as a physical matter, has come back to life as a bandcamp album ... very happy to meet such the first storyteller of their music history.

First to say, we cannot help getting surprised at the first track "17dance", that has complicated rhythm prints (created, launched mainly by the bassist Masaharu "Wai" NAKAKITA) and offensive saxophone attacks (by Shinji KITAMURA). Such a distortion under their soundscape has been massive regardless of the poor condition upon the mixing or dubbing for this album. The following "Day Eight", featuring djembe play (anyway, they say this skin-covered drum djembe got to be the origin of the band's name DJAMRA), has a characterized by their "square" play and "lightly-tasted" bass sound (oh cannot imagine currently). Repetitive complex phrases along with their mysterious synchronicity can sound very enjoyable but never danceable obviously lol.

The latter three tracks are their current repertoires, which we Djamra freaks know enough "to sing" (just kidding). Although their play was a tad rough and fuzzy, their strong intention for doing "musical amusement different from other artists" can be heard via this whole album ... no alteration about this attitude of theirs. Of course, djembe sounds would give another taste upon their sound basis, I guess ... but their mischievous creativity must not get shifted eternally. This undeniable fact can be understood via their soundscape now and then. What a pleasure really, and wonder who keeps this strong intention!

There is no words like "cool" or "polished" for this debut shot but it's fine for us to enjoy such a crudeness too ... well done from the beginning.

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